I Might Have It But It Doesn't Have Me
Last week, at Janet Johnson's funeral service, her cousin, Pat,shared this beautiful observation, "Janet might have had a disease, but the disease did not have Janet."
I was astounded by that powerful comment. Too often, people allow themselves to be defined by their difficulties. This breeds a victim mentality. Because troubles abound, we can find all kinds of reasons to be unhappy and discontent with life. In the end, however, those reasons are just excuses. The key isn't what happens to you - but rather, how you respond to what happens.
Here's an important question: do you really want to be defined by troubles and negative experiences? If you wish to be miserable, then just go ahead and let life's painful situations dictate your attitude and perspective.
If, on the other hand, you know you're made for more than that -- then there's a better way. It starts deep within your soul.
Speak the truth to yourself. You are a special creation from God. You are a treasure and a gift to those around you. Your difficulties in life do not, in any way, lesson your worth.
The other day, I took a $20 from my wallet and wadded it up into a tiny ball. I asked my kids, "How much is it worth now?" My kids replied, "Twenty dollars!" Then, I threw it on the floor and stepped on it a couple of times. "Now, how much is it worth?" Again, my kids replied, "Twenty dollars!" Finally, I threw it in the trash can. "NOW, how much is it worth?" The kids shouted, 'TWENTY DOLLARS!" So, I quickly retrieved it from the garbage.
It doesn't matter how much a $20 bill is wadded or trampled -- it's still carries the same worth!
And that's the way it is with you! Perhaps you've been crushed by adversity. Maybe you've trampled by troubles. Guess what? You're just as valuable as ever! You're a treasure and no painful circumstance will ever diminish that!
To paraphrase what Pat said about Janet, "I might have trouble, but my trouble doesn't have me!"
Let's just play it out into a few scenarios:
* I might have had a rotten childhood -- but my rotten childhood doesn't have me.
* I might have gone bankrupt -- but my bankruptcy doesn't have me.
* I might be unemployed -- but my unemployment doesn't have me.
* I might be going through a heart-wrenching divorce -- but the divorce doesn't have me,.
* I might made some terrible mistakes -- but my mistakes don't have me.
* I might have failed -- but my failure doesn't have me.
* I might have cancer -- but cancer doesn't have me.
Can you see how important this is? You are much, much more than what you've gone through. In fact, when you go through the hardships in the right way, you come out better on the other side. That's what Janet did. She suffered much -- therefore, she loved even more. I think this is what the Bible means when it speaks of gold produced by suffering.
So, tell yourself the truth, stay sweet through the struggles, and never let life's setbacks redefine who you are.